At Manchester, although it is important to be successful academically, the focus is on learning. The type of learning stressed is not particularly facts and figures, but cultural learning, social learning, learning about environmental responsibilities, learning how your actions affect the lives of others, learning through practice, learning how to challenge your beliefs, and most importantly, learning the danger of passive acceptance. The professors here challenge you to think for yourself, including searching out answers to your questions, going beyond the textbooks and digging deeper into the subject, and asking the opinions of others. Manchester College is a wonderful school but may not suit your individual needs. The point is, find a college that will challenge you to examine your thoughts, beliefs, and actions, instead of focusing on nothing but textbook material. Sit in on a class or two, and ask about learning experiences outside the classroom. Once you have chosen your college, take advantage of any learning experiences outside the classroom, including volunteering, cultural workshops, extra-curricular activities, and any outside guest speakers. Most of what you will take with you for the rest of your life will be from outside the classroom.
Parents and students always wonder if they made the right decision with the college or university they have chosen. My first advice when making this important decision starts with making many visits to many different colleges or universities. Do not limit yourself to a few. When you visit, ask yourself how welcome you felt? How many people did you meet during your visit? I believe the more people that you meet, the more encouraging and entusiastic the faculty is at the school. Ask the school about their graduation and drop out rates. How many graduates find jobs right out of school and how much help does the school give the students to find these jobs? These questions are important to your success at a college or university. Did you get to visit a classroom and meet many professors? Check to see how involved students are around campus and get a list of different clubs and activities. My last advice would be take a chance! When you choose a new school you are starting fresh. Pick somewhere that gets you involved with the best academics. Do not sit back your first year. Start volunteering and meeting new people immediately.
In 2007, an F4 tornado tore through my home town, destroying my high school. As a result, my fellow classmates and I were moved to the local junior college to attend classes. In the months approaching graduation, I struggled to decide where I would go to school. I did not want to attend our junior college because I had already been there for a year and a half. After much debate, I applied to Enterprise Ozark Community College because I was eligible for a full scholarship. I was not looking forward to starting school there, but as the months passed, I began to really enjoy it. I became involved in numerous activities, including Student Government Association, ESCC Mentors, Phi Theta Kappa, Spirit Club, and Diamond Dolls, and made several, wonderful, new friends. I enjoyed the smaller classes there because I got to know my teachers and classmates better. I believe that I was better educated because I had one-on-one time with my professors. I consider my education very valuable and would not trade my experience for anything. I have grown tremendously as a person and academically.
Searching for the right college for you may seem hard, but all you really need to know is yourself. I was very confused on how to make the right decision on choosing what college was best for me, but I did it based on what I would like as a social and learning experience. Ask yourself questions such as these: Do I prefer a busy, crowded environment or a small, open environment? Do I want the professors to know me by name or by a number? Do I want more hands on classes in smaller classrooms or more lectures in bigger classrooms? Does the school have an enhancing program for the major I want? Basically, when I was considering what school was right for me, I was undecided based on the size of the school, and how much help I would really receive whether in a large or small classroom. After realizing that I truly am a hands on learner, that I wanted more interactions with professors, and that I wanted an small environment like home, I knew Manchester was right for me. Therefore, ask yourself these questions and make a pro and con list to decide between your choices.
I would tell myself not to be afraid to push; to push myself to try new things and meet new people and feel new things. Push myself to become so much more than what I thought I could be. I would tell myself to realize that the greatest friends you can make are the people who take care of you when you are sick and sit and watch classic college movies with you in the dorm. Push yourself to engage your mind and body with every chance you get and never be afraid to take chances. Mistakes are the best thing that will happen to you because they show you that you have to open your eyes to new people and ideas and abandon unnecessary prejudices you once thought justified. Never be afraid to take a leap of faith while pushing yourself and others to be so much more than you anticipated. Lastly, push yourself to meet every new face you see because everyone is the most important person so someone else; you should put forth the effort to find out why. Never stop pushing through hard times and through boundaries because the harder you push, the higher you go.
College changes everything, choosing a college based on academics and your desired setting should not summarize the importance. Know what your stepping into! Attend a few classes of different academic fields, focus on your own attitude and the attitude of the other students in the room. Stay the night at the school, really the usual social life for college students begins after 9 or 10p.m. . If your an athlete talk to athletes that play your sport as well as others, you will find athletes who play your sport seem to hype up the academic and athletic programs so take opinions from different sports. Search for an area which you would feel comfortable with, something that brings you happiness or determination to do well in school. Your college experience is what you make it after all though, there are schools offered everywhere giving you a chance to succeed in life. Remind yourself that your decision is infact important; it's not what your parents want you to do nor what your coach wants you to do, but what your willing to do for your future.
I think my biggest advice to myself would just be to relax and have more fun. I was extremely worried about my transition to college. I know that most kids just want to get out of the house and go off to college, but I was a little more reluctant. I really love my family, and my high school experience was wonderful. Therefore, I was scared to go off on my own and really experience the world around me. I was extremely excited, though, too. I worked very hard in school, and I think that sometimes I forgot to just cherish every minute I had with the people around me. I've learned that college is really quite amazing. I have made some amazing friends, and I have learned so much. I love getting to learn about my upcoming career as a special education teacher! The transition to college is a whole new experience, but as long as you are willing to jump out of your shell and open up to new people and new experiences, it is absolutely amazing! If I were a high school senior now, I would simply tell myself to relax, work hard, and have fun!
Things are about to change dramatically. You will experience freedom you have never had, and form relatioships that change your life. You will learn some information that tints the way you see the world. I know you don't see it now, but you will lose some of those you love most, but only for a while. Some of your best friends won't understand you. You will be broken more times in a year than you have been in the last 10 years, but just hang on. Find more time to spend with God and keep those you meet in prayer. If you have an idea, run with it!!! Anything is possilbile so dont miss any chances. There will be times that you know you are exactly where you should be, and times that you dont recognize yourself. Just remember that both these experiences are a part of this journey! Though you dont understand some of the events that are soon to transpire, just keep your heart set on serving the Lord and getting to know Him, and above all, please Be the change you want to see in the world, and be willing to live, laugh, and love.
During the year keep your mind on getting into Harvard after undergrad. Do not give up. There will be long hours of applying for scholarships, but it will pay off. You should visit all of the schools that accept you and determine which one fits you the best. The financial aid package each college gives you needs to be scrutinized over and over again. Loans are not good at all so try and eliminate as much money as you can with scholarships. When you finally decide to go away don't forget your friends back at home because they will be a good source for comfort when you are feeling lonely or just need people to talk to that know you better. You will be nervous the first time attending your classes, but the only difference is the advanced work involved. Living on the third floor of a dorm can be fun because for the haunted house your floor is the scariest. The clubs you get involved as a first year get you noticed by others for the future. The key is to study multiple hours for each course. You will be on the road to success.
Seemingly endless weeks of scholarships? No challenge. Visiting various campuses and making the final decision? Piece of cake. Packing, re-packing and cramming everything into the car? A little more difficult but manageable with some planning. Rooming with your best friend? Big mistake. Although it may seem perfect rooming with the best friend, it?s quite the opposite. The first few weeks seem to float by with only a few bumps in the road. Tensions begin to rise over the most minuscule matter, and before I knew it, we were always mad at each other for some reason. I was the more ?social butterfly? and had people popping in to talk or watch movies while she remained silent and studious. The rift grew wider until we were unable to converse without some snide comment being said. Fortunately, we have grown from this experience and the situation is working out better. I wish I could have told myself not to room with my best friend and avoided our clashes. It would have saved many tears and cold words.